Vancouver pop ace Abram Nelken, who's worked with A.C. Newman and Sparrow, debuts on Mint with an album full of throwback pop hooks and melodies and desperation aplenty. Not quite as busy as Newman's Pornographers, this is fine songwriting wrapped in bittersweet cotton candy, somewhere in the Shins' zip code.
MP3: The Awkward Stage - Heaven is For Easy Girls
Califone - Roots & Crowns (buy it)
The preview track, "Spider's House", has a nice lazy feel with sad wailing horns. AllMusic sez: "The detailed arrangements and production are amazing: there's almost always a lot going on but there's still enough space for the songs to emerge. The sonic detail is a treat, with percussion of all sorts and electronic flotsam and jetsam all around the stereo field. Marimbas, pianos, guitars, strings, white noise, field recordings, samples and a host of other esoteric items ... This is a very original group who are really hitting their stride. They write interesting melodic songs, they've got brilliant ideas for arranging and production, and they've got the studio savvy to pull it all off in spectacular fashion."
MP3: Califone - Spider's House
Micah P. Hinson - Micah P. Hinson and the Opera Circuit (buy it)
Fresh off his collaboration with John Mark Lapham of the Earlies, as The Late Cord, Hinson returns with his gravel-buried, well-fallen voice and oddly rousing tales of desolation. "Jackeyed" adds bells and horns to augment what might be his peppiest anthem of deep dark confusion yet.
MP3: Micah P. Hinson - Jackeyed
Damien Jurado - And Now That I'm In Your Shadow (buy it)
All Music sez of Damien's latest: "The feel is late night, on the edge of quiet, and full of pathos. Once upon a time he refrained from writing confessional material; his songs are drenched in it now, whether metaphorical or not. Jurado's storytelling skills, however, have become more sophisticated and multi-dimensional than they were before." Stay tuned for a Damien live review shortly.
Robert Pollard - Normal Happiness (buy it)
Early orders of Bob's latest from Merge receive at no additional cost "MOON - ROBERT POLLARD LIVE -A 15 track disc featuring Robert Pollard and the Ascended Masters (Tommy Keene, Jon Wurster, Jason Narducy & Dave Philips) live at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati Ohio - June 24 2006." Visit his website for tons of free demos. Bob says, you can never have enough Bob.
MP3: Robert Pollard - Supernatural Car Lover
Portastatic - Be Still Please (buy it)
Mac's latest features backing vocals from Laura Cantrell and Annie Hayden. In addition to the new track below, please check out absolutely killer Portastatic track "I Wanna Know Girls" from their last album Bright Ideas, which Mac is making available on the Portastatic website.
Posthumous final album from underground hero and former Jacobite Nikki Sudden. Press mess: "Completed just a week before he left for his final American tour in March of 2006, there could not be a more perfect swan song for a man whose personal life and rock & roll life knew no boundaries. Nikki was glowing with excitement when he flew across the Atlantic for his final US tour. Not only was he ready to tour, but he was so pleased with the new album he had in his satchel, and had just completed his autobiography to boot. If Nikki's 49 well-lived years and 30+ years making music publicly could be summed up in any way, shape or form, it was in the two documents he had under his arm - one compact disc and one manuscript. While we may have to wait a while longer for the latter, we can now bask in the wonder of the former."
See iff's post from the other day for info and a link to Kramer's contribution.